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15 January 2005
Texan road part of ancient burial site

Construction on an area road in Corpus Christi (Texas, USA) has been delayed partly because of its location on an ancient American Indian burial site. "There was the potential for Indian artifacts all through this," Texas Department of Transportation district engineer Craig E. Clark said. The transportation department knew about the burial grounds before construction began in June 2000.
     Clark said Ennis Joslin Road has been delayed because the department had to move utility pipes that were in unexpected places and because of the extent of the burial site. Initially, the project was expected to be complete in late 2003. It's now expected to be complete in September. Transportation department officials did some test excavations to find out the extent of the burial site in the late 1990s, before construction began, said Nancy Kenmotsu, director of cultural resources for the transportation department. "They probably are ancestral to the Karankawas," Kenmotsu said. The department met with members of the Karankawa tribe before construction started, she said.
     The transportation department contracted with the University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Archaeological Research to preserve the artifacts. Archaeologists have found skeletal remains of a few individuals, along with several tools made from shells and rocks, Kenmotsu said. But most of the bodies are buried below where the construction contractors are digging.
     Archaeologists will likely do carbon testing to date the artifacts once construction is finished. The burial site probably dates from 2500 BCE to 1000 CE, said Robert Drolet, an archaeologist at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. Transportation officials said they didn't mention the burial ground earlier because they were concerned looters might scavenge bones and ancient tools.

Sources: Associated Press, Houston Chronicle (14 January 2005)

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